Civil Procedure Keyed to Field
United States v. Moser
Plaintiff and Jasper were both cadets at the U.S. Naval Academy during the Civil War. Following the war, both went on to serve as career officers in the Navy. Soon after the Civil War, Congress passed a law that granted any officer in the Navy who served during the Civil War retirement pay at three-quarters the sea pay of the next higher grade. When Plaintiff retired, he sued the United States to receive his benefits under this statute. Plaintiff succeeded in his suit on the first installment. Jasper then filed a similar action, but failed in his suit as the United States introduced a statute that stated that Naval cadets were not considered veterans of the Civil War. This statute had not been introduced in Plaintiff’s action. although it clearly would have been dispositive of Plaintiff’s action. Plaintiff then brought three subsequent actions on the next three installments and the court applied res judicata and found for Plaintiff, even though the first judgment was based upon an erroneous understanding of the law. The government appealed.
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